So, I’m back from my last trip of 2013 which took me to Nashville and Tampa to visit two of my dear friends over there, Blacke in Tennessee and Kevin in Florida. It was just a short stay, but I haven’t seen Blackie in almost three years (used to go there for Christmas but haven’t had time off the past few years) and the last time I saw Kevin was when Van Halen played in Tampa maybe two years ago or so. Been too long. So, I got on a plane over there on Christmas Day.
And of course, there is always music involved in one way or another. :) It wasn’t my usual gig-trip, but there were at least two interesting “Savatage-related” local gigs.
The first was in Nashville, at the Rutledge where ex-Savatage frontman Damond Jiniya was singing with Kuzin It. I remember him very well from 2002 when Savatage played a venue called Vega in Copenhagen.
Their light tech, Taz, invited me and my boyfriend at the time, to come see the show. My ex worshipped Savatage. So, he was in seventh heaven when he was able to get his stuff signed by Jon Oliva during sound check (or the preparations, I should say). The guy wasn’t normally impressed by anything, so that was a pretty interesting thing for me to witness. :)
I remember Damond as being this dark and dramatic stage persona with a massive voice, one of those frontmen you remember.
[The only decent live footage I’ve been able to find on YouTube from that era, a festival gig:]
I haven’t heard anything about this guy ever since, other than briefly from mutual friend’s social media pages or whatever, so I was really glad to hear that he was singing in Nashville when I was there. Blackie’s boyfriend and his band Liquid Courage were supposed to play that evening too but due to some unforseen circumstances, they had to cancel.
Actually, Blackie and I were on our way to another show that evening by a band called Royal Court of China but get this…: When we got to the club, the first thing I heard was some rappers rapping on stage. That couldn’t be right. Blackie explained that we were on the list.
The guy at the door asked for which band and when he heard that it was Royal Court of China he said that it was the wrong evening – they were playing “tomorrow”. That was funny, that’s new – never happened to me before. :) Guess there’s a first time for everything!
So we headed over to the Rutledge to see Damond which I was curious to hear. To people there it’s a local musician, to people overseas, it’s the guy associated with Savatage, however brief his time in the band might have been. Either way, he sounded great. I like the versitility in his voice, he can switch between different styles easily, and he does it well.
[With Blackie and friends at the Rutledge just before Damond went onstage]
This was my favorite from that evening, the Pearl Jam-cover “Black“. Not easy to do Eddie Vedder justice but this is really good:
And two more clips from that gig while I’m at it:
The music business is a crazy, unpredictable world – one day you’re in and next you’re “out”. One day you’re touring the world, playing big stages and handling huge festival crowds, and the next you’re playing small clubs with drunk people splashing beer in your monitors. But that’s what defines a true professional musician: the ability to handle 20,000 people at a festival or 20 drunks in a club. It’s probably easier to perform for 10,000 people than to a handful of people in a bar who don’t really give a fuck.
Anyway, the day after this gig, I headed down south, to Florida to see a longtime friend, Kevin (who used to play bass in Jon Oliva’s Pain). There’s another guy who’s spent his whole life playing. He’s got the most hilarious stories to tell (and I hope he decides to write a book about it someday). I got to know him when he was playing with JOP and he always gave 110% on stage.
[Kevin at Sweden Rock Festival, main stage 2009]
You could throw him up on a festival stage and he would cover every inch of it before the show was over, or you could throw him into a tiny club and he would still kill it. The dude rocks. Things are a little different for him too nowadays. His hair is shorter and he’s playing smaller clubs but he’s still great. Glad I got to see and hear one of his gigs while I was down there.
[Apart from being a kickass bassplayer, he can sing too. Very cool, raw rock’n’roll voice!]
There day I was in FL and saw Kevin play was, of course, a rainy and cold day (I must have brought it from Nashville or something!) so there were less people than usual, but he’s still as great as he ever was.
This was from Sweden Rock Festival, hair longer, crowd bigger, same guy and same talent!
After my very short stay in Florida I returned to Nashville to celebrate New Years Eve and the plan was to see my hosts Blackie and Ronnie play with Liquid Courage but I was sick as a dog. Don’t know what I caught but I was coughing, had a fever and whatever, so I spent my NYE in bed. Hope I’ll get to see them do their thing next year instead. :)
Well, I’m back in Sweden finally, a few more days to relax before going back to work. Curious to see what this year will have to offer in terms of music and travels! :-)